Over-thinking prayer?

The old proverb advises us not to ‘miss the forest for the trees.’ We can miss the main idea if we become obsessed with some detail. We can become anxious and bypass an obvious solution when we focus so tightly that the whole picture goes out of view. Somebody told me that they received a beautiful picture in their email but couldn’t enjoy it because ‘all I could see was the eye!’ They didn’t know how to scale back the view and so only saw a tiny fraction of the photo!

Disciple, our Father in Heaven extends this amazing privilege to us: prayer. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6, NIV) Another passage tells us to “Come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:16, NLT) We don’t have to go to some intermediary. We don’t have to go to some holy place, work up a special state of mind, or wait for a certain day or time. Wherever we are, whatever is on our mind, we can take to the Lord in prayer!

Some Christians rob themselves of this precious privilege by over-thinking prayer! “What do I say? Should I stand or kneel? Must I bow my head or look to Heavens?” They approach prayer like a boy approaches his first kiss; with equal measures of anticipated delight and terror. That boy misses several opportunities to kiss a girl while he’s thinking through the steps he thinks are necessary. Then, one starry night, he forgets himself and before he knows it, their lips have met before he even has time to think about whether their noses will get in the way.

Let’s open our hearts to our Father, coming near to Him in adoration. You need not rally a thousand co-prayers to find an answer. You don’t need to rush off to some meeting or revival preacher’s gathering to touch the heart of your Abba (Daddy) in Heaven. Is your heart full of fear? Tell Him. Is there a joy you want to share? Thank Him. Is there a need weighing on you? Ask Him about it. Don’t over-think it. Just talk with Him with the earnestness of a beloved child, which is exactly who you are in His household.

Here’s a word from the Word. May it inspire greater amounts of expectant prayer in your life. “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.” (James 5:16-18, The Message)


Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us;
For we need You to help us find our way.
Gentle Shepherd, come and feed us;
For we need Your strength from day to day.

There’s no other we can turn to
Who can help us face another day.
Gentle Shepherd, come and lead us;
For we need You to help us find our way.

Gentle Shepherd
Gaither, William J. / Gaither, Gloria

© 1974 William J. Gaither, Inc. ARR UBP of Gaither Copyright Management

CCLI License No. 810055

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